Prospect research shows that the gender pension gap in the UK is 39.5%, over twice the level of the gender pay gap. The gender pay gap and the disproportionate share of caring responsibilities undertaken by women, have significant long-term impacts that result in much lower pension income in retirement.
Prospect senior deputy general secretary Sue Ferns said:
“Equal Pension Day falling as late as 24 May really brings home how much less women receive in pension income.
“It’s not just the size of the gender pension gap, at about £7,000 a year, that is the problem. Often women only become aware of it once they have retired, when there is usually very little they can do about it.”
Prospect has called on the government to produce its own report on the gender pension gap, setting out its analysis of the causes and its plans to tackle it.
Sue Ferns added:
“We need to raise awareness of the existence of the gender pension gap and its level in order to build support for the policies needed to deal with it.
“Unfortunately the government has done nothing at all. I believe this actually breaches their statutory duty to promote equality of opportunity so I have written to the Equality and Human Rights Commission to ask them to investigate their inaction.”
As well as a requirement for the Department for Work and Pensions to produce an annual report on the gender pension gap for Parliament to debate, Prospect is also calling for:
- Better recognition of caring responsibilities in the state pension system.
- Lowering the earnings trigger for automatic enrolment to bring hundreds of thousands more women into occupational pension schemes.
- Resolving the pension tax relief net pay anomaly that disproportionately impacts women.